When the Levine Scholarship Program was established one requirement made between the University of North Carolina and the Levine Foundation, was that the freshman should be taken on a sort of tour, throughout Charlotte, to immerse them in the history and culture of the city. This would be dubbed the Charlotte Immersion Tour. This year, our class continued the tradition by going on a bus and walking tour of many areas of Charlotte, including places in and near uptown, and around campus and the University City area.
On our tour, we discovered all of the culture Charlotte has to offer—much that is hidden in plain sight. It was an incredible and humbling experience to start your day knowing little about an area, especially being from out of state, then going home that afternoon with a whole new knowledge and appreciation of it. We were very fortunate to be in the company of such an intelligent and fun historian as our guide for the day.
We started the tour exploring the east side of Charlotte. We were told to look out for the "cultural landscape," meaning, how the landscape changes from location to location based on the demographics of the population living there. We even stopped at an apartment complex that had a slave gravesite in the center of the complex. That shocked me!
Visiting the Levine Museum of the New South was another very interesting part of our day, as we were able to see a lot of the history of how Charlotte has progressed from its establishment to the present. With the museum being another part of the Levine family’s contribution to Charlotte, it is yet another example of how prevalent they are here and how we can carry that name with us to continue making a difference.
When then made it to the west side of Charlotte, exploring West Charlotte high school and the surrounding areas. We learned a lot about segregation and bussing in Charlotte.
Although we really enjoyed the touring part of the immersion tour, I think it is safe to say that lunch at Mert’s was one of the best parts of all of our days. With a menu full of southern comfort food that made it nearly impossible to choose between everything, we had an amazing meal and a fun experience. Overall, it was a great introduction to a growing community full of culture.